I’ve decided to post again. I didn’t intend to stop, to let posts about one day and another stand representative at the top of timelines that week by week were more neglected. I thought that in a week, a month, as in years before, an idea would impel me to short takes best posted before the moment passed, that again, before or after hours deep in manuscript pages, to read posts by friends I mostly hadn’t met in person would be to catch a breath of the world.
People in other cities, other time zones who for years were daily in my life had passed from sight. I checked their blogs and they hadn’t posted or were posting as infrequently as I was posting. I checked Twitter and it was all too much. In offline quiet I saw my words and deleted them. I seemed to have never seen my words aright before. I deleted chapters, characters. The more attention I paid to sentences, the less qualified I saw myself on anything else. The last pair of jeans I’d purchased during the George W. Bush Administration tore irreparably and I didn’t tweet the loss I sincerely felt or the dry farewell that came unbidden, words in a familiar mode that would pass unremarkable in the bantering stream. Not meaning to leave the party, I’d slipped out without saying goodbye, and now that I was gone what was urgent or important enough to detour back to report unless I intended to stay? I wasn’t sure what I intended. The time to craft a post that might be read for a few days and then would likely go unread ever after was more guaranteed to amount to some value if put toward a manuscript where even discarded words helped to make a next draft. I had lost a sense of a through line in posting even as I was perhaps finding one in my work.
A year and a half away from Twitter, over two years away from blogging. Why return now? (Why this night of all nights?) Amid a grand contested presidential election a voyage by one Ishmael. There is no right moment. One does not want all bagatelles, no symphonies, but some tunes want to be short and are best as what they are.
To everyone who kept following while I was elsewhere: thank you. After this long I assume little one way or another about who sees what I write, and there’s a wonderful shock at familiar names and faces.
I’m consolidating my writing at sarahkmalone.com and shutting down sarahwrotethat. I loved blogging there, and “met” so many writers I respect. Being on Tumblr in the early 2010s was a kind of practical MFA in craft and audience. But I don’t like my posts bearing as many tracking cookies as Yahoo overlays, and I don’t plan to be casually online to join in dashboard dialogue as often as I once did. Attuning to what played well on dashboards—abetted by interface designers making things to read indivisible with spaces for posting—was impeding my focus on getting the right words. I’m archiving the whole blog offline, and some of the posts I’m proudest of I’ve ported here (with nice new wide-screen images). I’m sorry to lose the record of their likes and reblogs, but glad to carry them over from their era. What a heady time it was.
Photo: Sarah Malone